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Nature: My Life as a Turkey (2011)

Joe Hutto , Fred Kaufman  |  NR |  DVD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)

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Nature: My Life as a Turkey + Illumination in the Flatwoods: A Season With The Wild Turkey
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Product Details

  • Actors: Joe Hutto
  • Directors: Fred Kaufman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: November 22, 2011
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005G81604
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,273 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Based on a true story, this beautiful, charming, funny, sad, and thought-provoking film explores one of those rare moments when man and animal unwittingly become more closely linked than nature normally allows. Deep in the wilds of Florida, Joe Hutto, wildlife artist and naturalist, was presented with a rare opportunity. It had long been his hope to learn about the secret world of wild turkeys by having young turkey poults imprint on him, but obtaining wild turkey eggs, or young poults, had proven to be next to impossible; so when he arrived home one day to find a bowl filled with wild turkey eggs on his doorstep, he went out immediately to obtain an incubator, determined to become their mother. It was an experience that would change his life in ways he could never have imagined. He began speaking with them even before they hatched, and bonded with them in their first moments. Then, day after day, for over a year, he lived as a turkey mother, taking on the full-time job of raising 16 turkey chicks. It was a role he would learn from scratch and leave him caught up in wonder. The level of awareness and sensitivity of his young family to the world around them simply transcended anything he had experienced before. He learned their language and their ways, and in time, he became about as close to being a turkey in human skin as nature permits. Eventually, his children grew up, and Hutto had to let them go off on their own. It was harder than he ever imagined. The journal Hutto kept of his life as a turkey ultimately became a book, entitled Illumination in the Flatwoods. His story is reenacted in this film in full, as he lived it.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Life As A [Mother] Turkey November 8, 2011
Format:Blu-ray
Saw the first half of this program at a Nature 30th Anniversary celebration here in NYC and can recommend it based on what I saw. Mr. Hutto hatched 16 wild turkey poults from eggs he received and purposefully imprinted them as their mother, then spent over a year playing mother (turkey) hen to them from before dawn to full dark every day to the exclusion of all else in the deep woods in northern Florida. His book about this experience, Illumination in the Flatwoods: A Season with the Wild Turkey, was discovered by a British producer and RECREATED on film with an actor playing Mr. Hutto's part (who looks like Mr. Hutto) on a ranch in a different part of Florida. The overvoice speaks Hutto's descriptive words. The actor onscreen does not talk much, but occasionally makes turkey sounds as he learns the turkey lexicon. There is nothing fake about the recreation, least of all the young turkeys, and you cannot TELL it is a recreation, period. The cinematography is stunning and the story will captivate you. (You will understand why Ben Franklin wanted the turkey, not the eagle, to be the national bird!)

My own experience with a family of wild turkeys in South Dakota had already convinced me of a lot of behavior confirmed by this program. When I stopped my car near them at the side of the road, the family dashed through a hedge and up a hill towards the woods, except for one poult who missed his cue and got separated. He was running in a circle peeping his head off on my side of the hedge. Meanwhile the family waited on the hillside and called to him over and over. Eventually the poult dashed through the hedge and rejoined the family, and they fled into the woods together. When I described this behavior to Mr. Hutto he confirmed it as well as the type of peeps a poult would make under these circumstances.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read the book-"Illumination in the Flatwoods" too! November 17, 2011
Format:DVD
What a wonderful, moving story of a man truly communing with nature. I loved how he instantly knew he was to be the mother of these little turkeys as soon as they hatched, and he dedicated his life to the turkeys for as long as they needed him. I was amazed at how the turkeys seemed to have a group concencus about when it was time to roost, leave the coop, and move on. For an even fuller picture of this story, read the book "Illumination in the Flatwoods". You'll love it!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFULL!!!! November 17, 2011
Format:Blu-ray
I was glued to this film, and enjoyed its stunning cinemagraphy and editing. The basic vibe is of awe and cosmic humor, wonder, and goodness in spite of it all......so we see a re-enactment , brilliantly filmed , of an experience of one person's quest for enlightenment, via his adopted family of wild turkeys......and we get to know
some of them....Swee-pea, Turkey-Boy, and we care.....and it is magic....to see Joe Hutto's "children", soon grow, thrive, and eventually, outgrow their odd relationship with Joe, and ultimately, their natural wild behaviour. It is revealed towards the end, that all the communication, relationship bond, was perhaps a fortunate,or un-fortunate, temporary thing...........as the turkey dna clicks in and reminds them they ARE WILD, and the results are both sad and wonderfull, and very heartfelt......but filmed with respect and magic, for both , the wild turkeys, and their adoptive parent. This is truly a special informative, and entertaining filmed account of our universal quest for meaning, love, understanding, everything else. I think this documentary is just one of a very few about wild turkeys, and is a marvel to behold!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Life Changing Experience November 18, 2011
Format:DVD
I'd like to reiterate that this film was not a documentary but a re-creation of events that took place in the late 1990s.

The photography was so beautiful and misty, that I was puzzled about how they were able to get such incredible shots until I did research and found out how they made the film.

And as incredible a story as it is, what is also equally remarkable is that wildlife photographer Jeff Palmer--the "actor" they used to portray wildlife artist/naturalist Joe Hutto--was also given a cache of eggs, and the hatchlings imprinted on him...and the filmmakers then followed the re-created, yet real-life growth and relationship that developed with Jeff Palmer as Joe Hutto. So, you see? This was not just a one-time thing that happened to Joe Hutto...this is something that can be created again and again with turkeys--and doubtless, other animals. Proof of a strange, magical interconnectedness of all animal species.

I was so moved by this film and the obvious consciousness and sentience of the turkeys and the way they communicated not just with Jeff Palmer/Joe Hutto--but with each other and the other animals of the forest. Hearing their myriad and specific vocalizations, seeing their ability to learn and their pointed curiosity--was mind-blowing to me. Watching them puzzle over the remains of a dead turkey was like watching elephants hover their feet over bones in an elephant graveyard. I couldn't get over how, well...HUMAN they seemed.

I am not a vegetarian, but after watching this film I don't think I'm too far off from never eating turkey again.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I love observing how smart God's creatures are
Delightful movie. I love observing how smart God's creatures are!
Published 5 days ago by PNWgardener
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Incredible story that you will want to see and show family and friends
Published 16 days ago by Sigrid
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and surprising...WATCH
Okay, this sure doesn't sound like an appealing DVD, for what on earth could be interesting about wild turkeys? Read more
Published 20 days ago by Creatics
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good!
Published 1 month ago by donquixote
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great story by a very interesting person and writer
Published 1 month ago by Turkey Book Collector
5.0 out of 5 stars Great video
A great story well told and filmed.
Published 1 month ago by Charlie Pennifield
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE IT !!
I LOVE this documentary. I watched it last year on PBS & since I raise chickens, it was a Must Have !!
Published 1 month ago by Patricia H. Benedix
5.0 out of 5 stars Emmy award winning documentary about a unique conservationist and his...
One of many stories in the life of a unique conservationist who has opened my eyes to the intelligence and emotional lives of wild animals.
Published 1 month ago by Michael E. Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great product and fast delivery
Published 2 months ago by David Leask
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best
I could watch this movie over and over. Oh wait, I do! Very well done, the cinematography is spectacular. The story even more so.
Published 2 months ago by Gianna
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